Archive for September, 2008

A: Mary had a lotta lamb

Posted in Mains with tags , , , , on September 30, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

and so she made lasagne!

lambsagne anyone?

lambsagne anyone?

A 1.5kg leg of lamb is a rather ambitious per-person portion serve when cooking for 2. So, after packing away 2 lunches of roast lamb with rice and veggies and 600g of leftover meat, I decided it was time for (drum roll please) LAMBSAGNE!!!

Now, my friend Sarah who is as Italian as they come (oh the stories she will tell of sauce-making marathons and don’t even get me started on the virtues of homemade cacciatore sausages!) once made lasagne for me. And I’m not remotely interested in bettering hers, but she did have one addition that really did it for me- hardboiled eggs! Her mother adds chopped up egg to hers, as did her mother’s mother, and it made me feel like the last 28 years of my lasagne-eating life was an entire waste of time. (Not that I’m the melodramatic sort…) Now, where was I? Oh yes, LAMBSAGNE!!!

First, meat sauce:

Fry off 3 garlic cloves in olive oil.

Add 1 jar of passata, 1 400g tin of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of red wine, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp oregano and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Add 600-700g leftover roast meat and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Mmmmm...... lamb......

Mmmmm...... lamb......

Second, bechamel:

Melt 80g butter in a pan.

Add 1/3 cup flour and stir for 2 minutes.

Add 1 litre warm milk a little at a time and stir well.

Add 1 bay leaf, pinch of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp peppercorns and simmer until the sauce loses its raw flour taste. Season well.

Lay a piece of baking paper over the white sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

Lay a piece of baking paper over the white sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

Other important bits:

6 hardboiled eggs, roughly chopped

200g parmasan, grated

Fresh mozzarella (2-3 balls)

Instant lasagne sheets (if you can be bothered to use fresh and do the whole pre-boiling thing, go for it!)

Now the fun bit, layering!

Start with pasta, followed by meat, white sauce, egg, lots of cheese. Repeat until you run out of sauce, making sure you finish with pasta followed by white sauce, more parmasan and shredded mozzerella.

Bake in a 200C oven for 45-60 minutes. The lambsagne should be golden and blistering with cheesy, bechemel-ly goodness at this point. Makes enough for 6-8, which meant more luscious leftovers for us, YAY! If you can wait, this tastes even better the day after! Effectively, $20 for a leg of lamb= (and I counted this one) roast dinner for 2 + roast lunch for 2 + lambsagne dinner for 2 + lamsagne lunch for 2 + emergency lambsagne in freezer for 2!

I’m certain I missed my calling as a farmer’s wife…


R: Doggone Dang Diggily Ding!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Every year at the royal show, some food item would catch my eye.ย  This year it was the rack of ribs. Flame grilled before your very eyes, BBQ baste blistering away. In a previous year, it was the Dagwood Doggone Dang Diggily Ding Dongย Dog. Big, crumb coated crispiness on a stick, juicy ketchup running down the sides (image from flickr).

Whilst experience should have taught me that these fair-food always look and smell better than they taste, tricksy little foods they are, the nose and wallet ALWAYS fail to listen The initial disappointment then gradually erased by the hopeful expectation of next year’s must-try-item.

Last year, I saw hoards of people tucking into these massive serves of curly fries. Big twisted heaps of blond potato locks falling over itself, freshly deep fried, hot and steaming. Whole potatoes are attached to a electric hand drill then placed before a metal plate with a grating hole in the centre. Drill is switched on, and whole potatoes are turned into long potato strands. These are tossed into metal baskets and submerged into hot fat and deep fried.

Last year, I wanted to try them but didn’t because they were dear at $6. This year at $8, I thought it’s now or never! Verdict? Fries should have been double fried so that they are crisy instead of soggy. Perhaps a beer batter would make it even more drool-worthy. However, now that ive tried them, i can set my heart at ease and look forward to the hunt for the rack of ribs, next year.

R: For breadder or for worst..

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

It was chucking down buckets last week, and when one stays indoors looking out at the dam(p) gloominess that is the outside world, one inevitably things of warming up the inside with all sorts of homely goodness ๐Ÿ™‚ And when I say homely goodness, 2 things spring to mind immediately, HOT SOUP or HOME MADE BREAD ๐Ÿ™‚

Since I already had a pot of hot soup on the stove, it was home made bread, without question.

1. Measure up the ingredients and work the dough till it looks smooth and well, doughy. I personally like Richard Bertinet’s recipes and approach (see here or here) and always work the dough by hand. This time round, instead of water, i used the equivalent of milk + juice of 1 lemon.

2. Let it rise till double in size. In this weather, I left it on the kitchen bench to quietly meditate for about 4 hours while I went out to run some errands. Overturn dough onto table, knead and form into a tight ball, then return to bowl and allow to rise again.ย  I repeated this step just to see if it makes a difference.

3. Form dough into little balls. From 750g of flour, I got about 25 little balls. Arrange in a baking tin, allowing room for the balls to rise again.

4. Glaze the tops with egg wash, sprinkle a little topping (i used oats and sesame seeds) and bake till golden brown.

5.Allow to cool ten tear off a piece to admire your handiwork, and EAT. Wonderfully soft and fluffy fresh out of the oven, but dry and hard the very next day. Lesson: Eat it all on day 1, and that really isn’t hard to do ๐Ÿ™‚

A: Got lamb?

Posted in Meat with tags , , , , on September 28, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

I know it’s not necessarily a mid-week type of meal, but this is a meal so simple I could possibly do it with my eyes closed! 10 minutes of prep and 60 minutes to roast an easy-carve leg of lamb makes this meal an all-round winner for the busy cook.

Olive paste

Combine in a food processor:

1. 2 handfuls of kalamata olives, drained

2. 2 anchovy fillets (or anchovy stuffed olives)

3. 2 red chillies

4. 3 cloves garlic

5. 1 quarter preserved lemon, rinsed (skin and flesh)

6. leaves from 3 sprigs of rosemary

7. Enough olive oil to lubricate processor

8. 2 tsp mild paprika

9. 1 tsp smoked paprika

Process tiill smooth. Cover the leg of lamb in paste, dot with butter and season with pepper.

Roast till required doneness and enjoy! (Roast potatoes and veggies in the same pan for an even easier 1-pot meal.)


Posted in Muffins on September 24, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

This must be my first bake of spring!! After pouring over all my cookbooks looking for lemon (what else!) ideas, I decided to KISS and make lemon and strawberry muffins ๐Ÿ™‚

Take 1 standard muffin recipe, add rind and juice of 1 lemon and 12 chopped up strawberries. Bake until gloriously golden brown. Allow to cool.

Glaze with icing made with icing sugar, rind and juice of a lemon, and a generous splosh of lemoncillo grappa. Top with a strawberry half and drizzle more glaze on top.

Share with your loved ones who help you make it through all sorts of weather.

A: A wrestle with my pestle.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

And I won!

Who’d have thunk it. It snapped in my hands and left me speechless for a good 10 minutes as I pondered the probability of a granite pestle just crumbling in my hands. I was pounding away palm sugar, so it wasn’t even in the midst of heavy duty action! Oh well, off to the shops for a new pestle (and mortar, seeing how I doubt I’ll be able to buy just one of the other. Or can I…?).

A: Souper Sunday!

Posted in Soup with tags , , on September 7, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

(or clear- out- your- crisper- and- make- something- before- everything- goes- yuck- day)

Generally I make minestrone when faced with an emergency vegetable glut. It’s relatively quick, fail-proof, versatile and freezes quite well.

Won’t bother with a detailed method. Basically it’s:

1. Chop up your vegetables.

2. Fry the ones that take the longest to cook first in olive oil+butter (e.g. carrot, garlic, chillies, silverbeet stems), adding other vegetables according to the amount of time they take to cook (e.g. zucchini, cauliflower and lastly the silverbeet leaves).

3. Add enough water to cover, tinned tomatoes if desired, stock powder (or just use stock), lots of seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-30 minutes.

4. Add pasta 10 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Serve with lots of extra virgin olive oil, shaved parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

I tend to save my parmesan rinds and use these when making minestrone. I can’t remember where I read this tip but it really does flavour the soup beautifully.

Lunch for 2 plus 5 emergency meals in the freezer. Bargain!

Lunch for 2 plus 5 emergency meals in the freezer. Bargain!